Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Out of the Loop

My posts have been a little few and far between lately because of some personal things going on in my life. I'm working on it, so hopefully I will be back with a little more regularity in the near future.

There were some great articles for discussion this weekend that would have made great posts, but I kind of missed the boat. So here's my discount version:

Story # 1: Rick Casey's column on a visiting judge ordering urinalysis on acquitted defendant: As much as it pains me to agree with Papa Smurf on anything, I have to admit that he's mostly right on this one. What in the hell was the judge thinking?

Long story short: A visiting civil court judge, presiding over a criminal trial orders the Defendant to have a urinalysis while the jury is deliberating. The judge makes her intentions known that she will allow the results to be admissible during the punishment phase, should the jury reach it.

The jury acquits. Judge makes her take the urinalysis anyway, at the Defendant's own expense.

It doesn't take a lawyer, or even an aspiring law school student to realize this is not right.

The big issue on this to me is that somewhere, it should be codified that visiting civil court judges should not be allowed to "visit" in criminal courts. And vice versa. When dealing with civil law and criminal law, it is truly the proverbial "apples and oranges" situation, and what happened with Casey Price most definitely should not have happened. Any criminal judge would have known that.

That being said, I think that Paul LaValle including the rookie prosecutor in the law suit is preposterous. The vast amount of rookie prosecutors would try their cases pantless if a judge told them to, because they just don't know any better. Picking on this prosecutor for not jumping up and down when a judge was ordering something is over-reaching, and bullying. Unless you really want to base your legal career on the teachings of Lloyd Kelley, I would spend some time considering how far your law suit goes.

Back off the young prosecutor, Mr. LaValle, and focus your lawsuit on where it should be focused.

Story # 2: Sheila Jackson Lee calls for Inquiry Into Harris County Criminal Justice System. Citing numerous "bad court thingys", Sheila Jackson Lee called for a Congressional Inquiry into the Harris County Criminal Justice system. She cited the Joe Horn "no bill" and the Chuck Rosenthal scandal as reasoning behind the need for an inquiry.

Um, okay.

It would be very interesting to see how exactly this "inquiry" would be set up.

Would it be calling the thousands of inmates who have been arrested and incarcerated in the Harris County Jail to appear before Congress and ask them if they enjoyed their experience?

Would it be hauling in all every prosecutor and Sheriff's deputy to Capital Hill and asking them if they were card carrying members of the Legion of Doom?

Or perhaps, is this, shockingly, Sheila Jackson Lee doing her typical grandstanding once she realized she could make a "bold" statement by denouncing something that is allegedly systematic.

Here's a newsflash for you, Sheila. There are going to be these things called "elections" in November that can potentially make a bigger difference in the way things are run than you ever will. I know that you are probably still sweating how to apologize to your constituents for supporting Hilary over Obama, but anyone with half a brain knows that you are only good for a sound-byte that will, most likely, bring you more contempt than admiration.

Besides, Congress has much more important things to deal with, like determining whether or not Roger Clemens ever used steroids or something of National importance like that.


Anonymous said...

You are right on the money on Sheila. I liked it when the Houston Press was calling her "Pretty in Pink", since she often wears pink. Maybe always, I don't follow her enough to know about her wardrobe because her opinions are so silly.

It's good that you are writing. You have a great blog, and I hope the personal stuff all becomes happy stuff. We don't always agree on prosecutorial and political issues, yet we have similar respect for victims and reality based opinions about the system and folks we should be scared of.

You know the Pain and the Pride of the Prosecutor, and that is what the rank and file prosecutors identify with. Keep it up.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and I guess with Rick Casey being right for once that hell has actually frozen over.

Next thing you know, the Chronicle will be urging citizens to lock dangerous criminals away for long sentences.

One can hope...


Murray Newman said...

Thanks, Tex.

Michael said...

For all you Democrats who want to load up on the judge for being a power-hungry twit, forget it. Johnson used to be a PI lawyer before being appointed to the bench -- by Anne Richards -- and raising money from plaintiff lawyers like O'Quinn, who then saw it raining money when he started trying breast implant cases in her courtroom.

Btw since when does a 1st time DWI fall under the ignition lock provider full employment act? (I thought I read elsewhere, maybe on Mark's blog, that she didn't blow.)

Anonymous said...

Papa Smurf is pretty good. He's really on to those bad court thingies.

However, I've never really understood why bloggers apologize for "light blogging" when responsibility rudely intrudes on self-indulgent escapism. In such instances, I usually go around seeking, not giving apologies.


Thomas Hobbes said...

For Michael - Although the defendant may not be statutorily required to install an interlock device on a DWI-1, some courts routinely require it as a bond condition.

The whole story - as reported - suggests a judge who, as evidenced by her remarks, was clearly out of her depth.